By What Authority?
Scheduled for January 19
26:28 NIV) This is my blood of the covenant, which is
poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
is an interesting thing that Jesus Christ went around in his earthly ministry
saying, “Your sins are forgiven.” We don’t think of it this way, but this is
an extremely presumptuous statement -- one of the many radical things Jesus
said in such a humble way. Perhaps you don’t think so; look at it this way:
that I decide that you need a good punch in the nose. Being a man of action
(and rather limited sense) I decide to carry out this plan, and I bop you in
the face. You (being a superb Christian) now have the Christian privilege of
granting me forgiveness. Let us suppose, however, that Satan arises and tempts
you to petty vengeance, namely, you decide to bop me in the nose. The fight
seems to be on, but (let us further suppose) that Graydon Jessup steps between
us. He directs you to cease and desist, because, he says, “I have forgiven
being the logical sort of person you are, and greatly given to debate as
opposed to combat, you decide to reason with Graydon. “Hold on, preacher,” you
say, “if I want to punch his lights out (in a decent Christian manner, of
course), why, that’s my business. What right do you have to forgive him and
let him off the hook?”
see the argument, of course. You have the right to forgive, because you’re the
one I punched in the nose. I didn’t punch Graydon, so he doesn’t have the
right to forgive me on your behalf. Right? To turn this into a principle,
only the person who is offended has the privilege of forgiving.
hold on. In any such dispute, there are always at least two persons who are
offended. In this instance you are one. The Lord God Almighty is the other,
for he has ordained peace among his children. When I punch you in the nose,
you bleed and He is pained. He who set the moral order of the universe is
always offended when it is violated. And that doesn’t count how He feels about
someone punching his children (how do you feel when someone hits your
you see why Jesus so enraged the Pharisees -- when he claimed to forgive sins,
he claimed to be God. His entire purpose in coming to us was just that: to
rescue us from our sins, to grant us salvation.
is cheap, and therefore is commonly sought and sold. Forgiveness, however, is
costly; the more there is to forgive, the greater the pain of forgiving. Our
forgiveness cost Jesus his life, at Calvary. As God, he had the authority to
forgive. As man, the price had still to be paid. He paid what I owed, and
forgave me without price.
you take the Lord’s Supper, then, remember that He who died came with the
authority and the purpose of forgiveness. Our forgiveness.